Ok guys- so I got a bit of a last minute request to mix and master this two song EP for release on Valentines Day. Because of the quick turn around, I had to think quickly and not second guess my mixing decisions too much. Working quickly definitely is proving to have some major benefits. You’re forced to make decisions and stick with them- this is also something I employ heavily in my music composition. I’m constantly bouncing (rendering) ideas to audio, often times with reverb, delay, compression, etc. If you struggle with having sounds that just sound to ‘stock’ or standard, I would definitely recommend you try bouncing audio in several stages along the way of your composition. Having the bounced audio files in your DAW starts the slate clean and fresh. It means you’re free (and your CPU power) to continue tweaking. Slicing and arranging audio has a drastically different sound to it than just moving MIDI files around. Give it a try and let me know if it improves your sound!
Lately I’ve been doing my mastering on top of my mix stems. This means I get to the end of a composition and bounce everything to audio stems. I still have individual control of the sounds, but it means that all arrangement is finalized, and frees up the CPU power to continue mastering. I’ve really been focusing on mastering a lot in the last year and have gotten a pretty great sound so far that I’m very happy with. Having the stems is ideal. When you’re trying to finesse the song to commercial loudness without distortion, clipping, or over-limiting, it’s essential to have all the parts to massage into the master chain. I know most mastering engineers prefer to work with stereo files, however I really think I’ll request stems for every song. Not that I’d be mixing the song again, but having those individual parts is really the best way to get the sound great IMO. People might say “well if the mix is right you shouldn’t need that” and I agree to a certain extent, however in 2018 most people (in electronic music) aren’t sending their stuff out to get mixed by a professional. Nor are they mixing engineers themselves really- they just know to some varying degree how to mix their own music. From what I’ve mastered this far- if I didn’t have the stems I wouldn’t have gotten even CLOSE to the same result.
Anyways, the video’s a little bit long but it will show you my entire process of mixing a song. The only thing I did after the stream is small adjustments on my studio monitors and then the mastering. Enjoy!